EMS SAMPOORNA KRITHIKAL — Volumes 53, 54 and 55: T. Sivadasa Menon — Editor; Chintha Publishers, Thiruvananthapuram. Rs. 150 each.

E.M.S. NAMBOODIRIPAD’S observations on inner party democracy, the schism in the communist movement and peaceful transition to socialism are the highlights of the 53rd, 54th and 55th volumes of his complete works.

Answering questions raised by readers of the party journal Chintha, in the context of the expulsion of some senior leaders of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), he pointed out that democratic centralism allowed individual members and lower units to voice their differences. However, once the higher council took a decision, they had to yield to it. Otherwise there would be anarchy.

Explaining the role of party factions in mass organisations, he said their task was to conduct ideological campaigns to raise the cultural and political levels of members, not to control them.

He asserted that the CPI (M) did not share the Chinese party’s view that the Congress government in India and the Kuomintang regime were alike. Unlike Kuomintang, the former came into limited conflicts with imperialism, and this trend deserved to be encouraged.

Some of EMS’s remarks have been rendered irrelevant by the collapse of the Soviet Union. But others are still valid. In a perceptive comment in 1992 he said that while the Soviet Union and East Europe had surrendered to capitalist market forces, China was using them with the party remaining in control.

Interestingly, while answering a question in 1973, he did not rule out the possibility of peaceful transition to socialism. He, however, rated its chances very low because of weaknesses in the movement.